I've always loved working out and for me, the harder the workout, the better. In my opinion, those are the only ones that really deliver results that you can see.
However, recently I was almost to a point where I was ready to quit my hard workouts and start walking my dog for exercise, using my age as an excuse to become a little "less active." I guess it was on a day when I was feeling a little lazy. Honestly, I don't have the energy that I used to have.
I did some research online looking to validate my idea because you know, safety first. I don't want to break a hip or anything. ;)
But of course, the more I researched, the more I found that in fact now is definitely NOT the time to quit.
1. You need muscle!
Not only does it look good on a body and help maintain a nice shape, it's very useful, like when you are carrying a bike upstairs, or moving furniture around. As you get older, your metabolism slows down and you begin to lose muscle. Strength training in your older age improves your metabolic function and reduces your risk of gaining fat. Anyone want to reduce their risk of fat gain? (raising my hand)
2. Muscle improves illness and disease recovery:
In the case of serious illness,
injury, or disease, your body organs require a higher amount of protein
for support that most of our diets can rarely deliver. Your muscles act
as a "safety net" of protein that your body can pull from to help
recover. Did you know that muscle mass is used as a predictor of survival rates of all sorts of cancer? Muscle is a little important, don't you think?
3. Exercise improves bone density:
Osteoporosis can be a factor as our hormones change during menopause, so while building muscle through strength training,
the heavy weights have been proven again and again to improve bone
density. That's a good thing.
Sohow do you keep up the routine when you lack the energy or motivation?
Find what you love.Love swimming? Go early to the community center. Love playing tennis? Grab a tennis buddy and make a plan. Don't love the gym but love what strength training does for a body? Do HIIT at home. Bicycling, yoga, jump roping, do whatever resonates with you, but make sure to get your heart pumping and use those muscles! The truth is, if you don't love it, you won't do it.
Make the time. Don't fall into the trap of waking each morning and trying to decide whether or not to workout that day. Decide to make it part of your schedule and daily routine. Plan it. Map out your week. Choose how to divide your workouts, for example; do strength training Monday, Wednesday, and Friday; go jogging or practice yoga Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Set aside time, and when life happens and you miss a workout? Shift your schedule around and fit it in somewhere else in the day. If that doesn't work, understand that things happen, and pick right back up the next morning.
Pay attention to your body's energy.Modify exercises if you need to, take down the intensity or poundage, or don't do as many reps. You may not have the stamina or the endurance that you once had. Go with it, and make the necessary adjustments, but do not allow yourself to quit. Working out should be hard, but if it's so hard that it becomes a drudgery, or you look for reasons NOT to workout, it won't serve you. Find that sweet spot between hard and enjoyable. My favorite is HIIT but I really have to modify some of the exercises. Still hard, still killin' my muscles, but modified to suit my 45 year old body. ;)
Some of my favorite tips...
Listen to great music, it makes a huge difference in your mood!
Finish strong! At the end of a run or bike ride, pick up the pace for the last minute.
Allow yourself to get plenty of sleep!
Add lean protein to each meal - this is so important!
"It's the start that stops most people"....don't let it stop you!